One morning, like every other morning, I fed my chickens two coffee cans of grain.
In the back was a giant chicken. All legs, bright turmeric yellow legs. Somehow her feathers were whiter than all the other hens, like she bathed daily. Her beak more curved, and pointed, like a hook. Her eyes more knowing. More withering in their sideways stares.
I took that chicken into the house. I had a machine. The machine told me what things thought. I learned that some rocks were content, others weary of existing. I learned the air carried angry shouts with it from distant feuds, and quivering voices from lovers, and snores from the lips of old women.
I put the machine to the chicken. Turned out she was as angry as she always looked. Malcontent: kept in a cage, in the wrong body. She wanted to ride the plains. And she wanted me to ride her.
I did not have the machine for that. I would have to build the machine, I knew, with a racing heart. I had myself a skillet eggs-Florentine to fuel up: just some brown rice sauteed with garlic and spinach with two over easy eggs thrown on it, and hopped in my SUV to go to the junk yard.
Another of my colleagues from the Kollege lived in San Antonio. We learned a different set of sciences at the college. There are many ways to skin a cat, my father would say. There are many theories that come to the same conclusions, my Prophesors would say.
I knew that she was always building new machines and throwing them away, sort of like Buddhist sand mandalas that are carefully made in colored sand only to be swept away, to signify the impermanence of material objects. I saw a monk do that once, but he seemed to a bit ostentatious about it, parading his enlightenment in front of gawking Western consumers as if to say "Nanny nanny boo boo I've moved past the psychologically dependency of tangible objects as self-actualization fetishes and you haven't! Pbbbbtttt!"
I called my friend and told her my plan. She said she just threw away the perfect machine for the job and that it should still be whole in the junkyard. I knew that to mean it would be half sold off and scattered in various pieces evenly distributed throughout the yard, and that it would take me all day to find it. I, pleasantly, was not disappointed, and listened to an Alan Dean Foster audiobook while I picked through the junkyard.
I built my machine to make my chicken happy. Or, rather, I devised a system of machines and drew up a plan to make my chicken happy, really. I thought that would be a nice thing for me to do, and my wife would be thrilled no doubt. I would go see her in the other Real, astride my mighty chicken mount, and she would probably smile broadly in that "What has he done know." expression that I loved. I'll admit it: I'm ostentaious with my idiosyncrasy.
We would then all go on a picnic to the strawberry fields. Me and her would lie on a blanket and cuddle while Patricia (the chicken needed a name at that point) would eat the bright red berries right from the ground, and the juice would make her face look covered in blood. Like her ancient ancestors of the Jurassic age of violence and heat, supping on steaming vittles from the belly of a freshly killed cousin.
I decided on a biological tack for the transformation. I would need to isolate Patricia's mind from her body: not the mind that is the nexus of her neurons and synapses and instincts, but the one that was the modulation of her spiritual vibration. A thin sheet of fledspar would do the trick. I ordered that from Amazon, next day shipping. My wallet shrieked at the freight, but I could pick up some gold in the other Real to make up for it. Berserk's father owed me some anyway.
I clamped the feldspar to the Vibrum I built in Kollege, a little machine which is nothing more that a plate of millimeter sized eccentric motors attached by data cable to my computer. The computer takes spiritual vibrational data from the Analyzer (that first machine I mentioned) and mimics those vibrations in the feldspar. Once the feldspar began vibrating at the correct frequency, I used hypnosis on Patricia to cause her to project her spirit out of her body, and instructed her to resettle in the feldspar. It held her quite well, a translucent, blue washed image of her in the body she wanted idly pacing in and out of vision.
Then, I set to work on her body. I began by developing her new phenotype on my computer, based on a picture that I downloaded from Patricia's mind. This took a bit of creativity, and its my wife that's the real artist in the family, but I wouldn't burden her with my project.
I basically downloaded the picture onto Blender, made a 3-D model of what Patricia wanted to be, and used my Geno-CAD (basically Auto-CAD but for gene expression rather than architecture) to build a genetic sequence that would grow a large, rideable chicken creature.
That took weeks and weeks of effort. I decided I had jumped the gun a bit and let Patricia back in her old body. I do this alot, thinking I'm going to do it one way and then back tracking, but I don't let it bother me. If I did, I wouldn't get anything done. I also decided that I would grow the body from one of her eggs, rather than change the one she had, just in case I mess up: something else I am well experienced in. Rodney, for example...
Growing a new chicken-chassis would have taken a whole year, but I compressed it to a few months by dilating a small time pinch in my growing chamber. The growing chamber is what I built out of my friend's parts. She had used it to build three new bodies for herself, apparently, including a male one just to try out being a man. "I swear, no fucking joke, I felt like four times dumber in that body!" she had told me brightly over the phone.
The growth period only took a month, in me and my wife's time-scale. The hardest part was hiding the surprise from the Mrs. Well, not that hard, since she lived in the other Real. No, wait, actually it was still hard because I wanted to tell her so badly when I went to see her after work everyday. I wonder if she knew I was up to something.
By October, Patricia's new body was ready. I made the transfer easily, and she seemed immediately pleased. I was too: nothing like a new project done to break up the ho-hum of life.
It was plain enough that Patricia was ecstatic when we did go on our trip to the strawberry fields in the other Real, and my wife gave me the look I had wanted. She humors me, I'm sure.
Our oddly-clean giant hen liked it so much that me and the wife decided to leave her there. She roams the strawberry fields to this day, I'm sure. And lands beyond no doubt, where she can hunt the bigger anoles and lay her basketball sized eggs on any cranny she chooses. I mildly hope that she may be found by Berserk, and her can breed her with a Dilophosaurus and make some quiet fearsome and brisk geldings for his farm.
As savage was Patricia's look, all the days of her life with us, her brood would win any joust.
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